Chamber members were given insight on current free trade agreements and how trade creates big markets for small economies. In a global economy, international trade significantly impacts Kentucky's businesses by providing access to new markets.
- 41 million American jobs depend on international trade.
- 1/2 of the 12 million U.S. manufacturing jobs depend on exports.
- 1 in 3 acres on U.S. farms planted for export.
- For Kentucky, trade supports $29 billion in exports and more than 539,000 jobs.
- Close to 79% of Kentucky exporters are small/medium businesses.
Kentucky’s top trading markets are Canada, UK, France and Mexico. Therefore, negotiations related to Brexit and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be important to watch. For example, NAFTA supports 14 million U.S. jobs, including 184,309 Kentucky jobs.
Although the economic benefit is clear and public sentiment toward trade is positive, challenges remain for these agreements. U.S. markets are largely open to imports, but tariffs in developing countries can be much higher, creating a competitive disadvantage. Discriminatory regulations and non-tariff barriers are also a problem. President Trump has expressed concerns about imbalances, particularly with China, and indicated a willingness to withdraw from agreements like NAFTA. While modernizations may be needed to level the playing field, withdrawing from NAFTA could be economically devastating for the U.S. and Kentucky. Wenk said the Administration favors bilateral negotiations with countries over multi-lateral agreements.
Because of Trade Promotion Authority, Congress has a role to play in this debate. Wenk urged the Lexington business community to closely monitor the Administration’s ongoing negotiations and to engage with Kentucky’s Congressional delegation to share real stories about the impact of trade on Lexington businesses.
On July 11-12, Commerce Lexington will be taking a delegation of business leaders to Washington, D.C. for the annual Fly-In. Trade is expected to be a top issue.
For more information about trade, visit http://tradeworksforus.com/.
If you have questions about this issue, or would like to share the impact of trade on your businesses with officials in Washington, D.C, please contact Andi Johnson, CLX Chief Policy Officer, at 859-226-1614 or by email.